Last night the British Cartoonists’ Association and the Cartoon Museum held their annual awards and fundraising dinner at the Mall Galleries in Central London. BCA chairman Martin Rowson is a long-time supporter of Musa Kart, political cartoonist for Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper and one of several members of staff entering their fourth week of jail time in Silivri prison, Istanbul, awaiting trial for alleged collusion with the organisers of last summer’s attempted coup.
After paying tribute to the cartoonists murdered in in the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in January 2015, Rowson told the audience of assembled cartoonists, politicians, journalists and cartoon fans about the plight of both Kart and Zunar, the Malaysian cartoonist currently facing trial for sedition.
He then invited everyone to make a standing ovation for Musa Kart as an act of solidarity and support for the twin freedoms of speech and laughter.
The audience included Britain’s top cartoonists, senior journalists from The Times, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Private Eye, Britain’s leading satirical magazine, as well as the much-loved veteran comedian Barry Cryer, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, multiple Oscar winning animator Richard Williams (the animator of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? who received the Lifetime Achievement Award later in the evening) and former Cabinet Minister Lord Kenneth Baker, who is also vice-chairman of London’s Cartoon Museum and a fan and collector of political cartoons.
We thank Martin Rowson for keeping Musa Kart and Zunar in mind during these ceremonies.